Lee, Desmond. “The Study of African American Slave Narratives “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” and “Narrative of Frederick Douglass”.” Studies of Early African americans. 17 (1999): 1-99. Web. EBSCO
In Harriet Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, the author subjects the reader to a dystopian slave narrative based on a true story of a woman’s struggle for self-identity, self-preservation and freedom. This non-fictional personal account chronicles the journey of Harriet Jacobs (1813-1897) life of servitude and degradation in the state of North Carolina to the shackle-free promise land of liberty in the North. The reoccurring theme throughout that I strive to exploit is how the women’s sphere, known as the Cult of True Womanhood (Domesticity), is a corrupt concept that is full of white bias and privilege that has been compromised by the harsh oppression of slavery’s racial barrier. Women and the female race are falling for man’s
Analyzing the narrative of Harriet Jacobs through the lens of The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du bois provides an insight into two periods of 19th century American history--the peak of slavery in the South and Reconstruction--and how the former influenced the attitudes present in the latter. The Reconstruction period features Negro men and women desperately trying to distance themselves from a past of brutal hardships that tainted their souls and livelihoods. W.E.B. Du bois addresses the black man 's hesitating, powerless, and self-deprecating nature and the narrative of Harriet Jacobs demonstrates that the institution of slavery was instrumental in fostering this attitude.
As the United States grew, the institution of slavery became a way of life in the southern states, while northern states began to abolish it. While the majority of free blacks lived in poverty, some were able to establish successful businesses that helped the Black community. Racial discrimination often meant that Blacks were not welcome or would be mistreated in White businesses and other establishments. A comparison of the narratives of Douglass and Jacobs demonstrates the full range of demands and situations that slaves experienced, and the mistreatment that they experienced as well. Jacobs experienced the ongoing sexual harassment from James Norcom, just like numerous slave women experienced sexual abuse or harassment during the slave era. Another issue that faced blacks was the incompetence of the white slave owners and people. In ...
Jacobs, Harriet Ann. "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl." Paul Laufer, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature, vol 1, 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company,
In the earliest part of Harriet?s life the whole idea of slavery was foreign to her. As all little girls she was born with a mind that only told her place in the world was that of a little girl. She had no capacity to understand the hardships that she inherited. She explains how her, ?heart was as free from care as that of any free-born white child.?(Jacobs p. 7) She explains this blissful ignorance by not understanding that she was condemned at birth to a life of the worst kind oppression. Even at six when she first became familiar with the realization that people regarded her as a slave, Harriet could not conceptualize the weight of what this meant. She say?s that her circumstances as slave girl were unusua...
The lives of the African slave in America were extremely difficult, and really only had a few things that some would consider a part of a normal life. Many faced hardships such as severe physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. The life of a slave was short and many even wished it to be shorter. White’s Ar’n’t I a Woman and Douglass’ The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass detail the lives of many different slaves and help give perspective to some of the darkest years in American history. The books use two different styles to convey a similar story of despair in which supposedly loving Christians dehumanized and tortured their own human brothers.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents In The Life Of A Slave Girl. 2nd Edition. Edited by Pine T. Joslyn. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, INC., 2001.